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They're baaaack.... After a two-week summer break, #Boulder city council is resuming tonight with a fairly full docket, including the first COVID briefing from health officials since June's surge. (Looks like things have turned around.)
Also: An update on business response (street closures, etc.)
Public hearings on a new hemp licensing program/fees, changes to dockless bike share regs, and tweaks to city code regulating overnight parking of large vehicles (campers, RVs, trailers)
Then an update on Xcel negotiations (not much new, I don't think) and performance reviews for City Attorney Tom Carr, City Manager Jane Brautigam and Municipal Judge Linda Cooke.

Those usually come with raises, but I doubt that will happen in this economic climate.
I know you're all *dying* to know what I did over my summer break, so let me show you...

Mostly house work, like sanding, staining and poly-ing my stair treads.
Step 1: Removing the carpet
Step 2: Sanding
Step 3: Waiting for ~3 yrs bc my roommate/ex and I couldn't agree on what to do
Step 4: Re-sanding the drywall and paint from them, then staining and sealing.
Action shot
Now I don't want to overwhelm you with excitement, but I *also* got a new screen door.
Vacation as an adult is... different.
The gang's all here.
COVID briefing from Jeff Zayach, BoCo Public Health, up first. Presentation:…
The 5-day average of new cases is back down to late-May levels (low). That needs to continue to move into the next phase of response, Protect Your Neighbor. Zayach promises more info on that later.

We're currently in Safer At Home.
"Boulder County still looks pretty good," Zayach said. "The only exception to that is the outbreak we had, which we do have under control."
Statewide, hospitalizations are "remaining pretty flat," he says. Reproductive number is "slightly above 1. When that happens, "we start to lose control of the virus."

In the beginning of the outbreak, that R value was 3-4, for context.
"Right now we're seeing more younger ppl" with COVID, Zayach says. That's old news that hasn't changed.
"The outbreak we had" in June .... "we had to rely on CDPHE and their staff to help control," Zayach says.

It's very labor intensive: Every positive case has 4-5 close contacts. Investigating those takes 30 min to 2 hrs each.
So even a "small" outbreak of a few dozen is TONS of staff time.
BoCo can "certainly" run more than 500 tests a day, and has done more than 600 daily before. Some of the challenge now is delay on testing since so much is coming from the state and private labs.
But def enough capacity to test everyone with symptoms and who has come in contact with someone with COVID.
"We want to be below 5% positivity" in Boulder County with testing, Zayach says. And we have been for a bit.
That's a five-day rolling average, to clarify. It's been under 5% since late May.
Again, "a lot of new cases" in 20-29 y.o., not just here but across the country, Zayach says. They are moving around a lot more than older cohorts.
Zayach stressing the importance of social distancing and masking. "We know masking helps," he says. "A lot more messaging coming around masking" in the weeks to come.
In BoCo, "we have a very low rate of death," Zayach says. "We want to keep it that way. ... As long as we're following (health guidelines) we can do that."
For the first time, Zayach sharing national data.
2.9M+ cases, 130K+ deaths

Cases going up dramatically in the U.S.
"It's a pretty big challenge," Zayach says. "We don't want to see that happening bc ppl can travel" between states, which is how it came to Colorado in the first place.
Colorado's doing really well, when compared to other states, despite our small recent surge.
Zayach going over the shift from Safer At Home to Protect Your Neighbors.

Biggest ones are that all workplaces can go back to 50% capacity, and gatherings of up to 500 ppl are allowed.
Which seems like a lot, but I'm no expert. Ya'll have at it if you want.
To be able to move into this phase, counties have to demonstrate that they have low transmission rates and a plan for if/when surges happen. Hospital capacity is required, too.
"We absolutely can do this," Zayach says. This most recent outbreak showed "how quickly and easily something can happen."
More requirements for counties looking to move into Protect Your Neighbors:
A plan to increase mask-wearing and other compliance, and increase the number of flu vaccines heading into flu season.
Local elected leaders including county commissioners and mayors have to OK the plans, along with hospitals, law enforcement, emergency management and local public health director.
There is light at the end of the COVID tunnel, Zayach says. "It's not going to be here forever. We have hope. ... At some point, there will be a vaccine."
Young has a q about "lingering aerosols" indoors and mask wearing.
Zayach: I haven't seen anything sent out from the CDC or anything like that, though I've "heard" about this. "There's not a lot of evidence about that being a primary source of spread."
"We learn new information on this virus" all the time, Zayach says. When we do, we'll change our strategy.
Wallach: How are we doing with PPE?
Zayach: All hospitals have at least 2 weeks, which is something we have to track to move to Protect Your Neighbors.
But there is concern with availability bc of outbreaks in the U.S. and elsewhere. "We're not out of the woods," Zayach says. "There are concerns we may be back in that place again."
Wallach: Are we stockpiling?
Zayach: State is having this conversation. In BoCo, we do have some stockpile and are trying to acquire additional stockpile.
Wallach: Why did Erie and Superior have such low positivity rates?
Zayach: Idk, but I'll ask our epidemiologist. We know that outside of CU / The Hill, we've had a "few small things" in restaurants, but those were "nothing we didn't expect or couldn't control."
My internet cut out but Zayach is talking about CU and its plans. There's a 13-point plan and distribution of "COVID kits."
Friend: What's the easiest way to get testing now if you are uninsured?
Zayach: There are at least 2 free testing sites in BoCo, and Clinica provides a sliding scale. Others might, too. Info on the county website:…
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